When I made a comment on Facebook as “Rossleigh Brisbane” someone attacked me saying that it was clearly a made-up name.
Nup. It’s mine. And I’m proud to be a “Brisbane”. Of course, my mother was a “Donald” and she was proud of that too, even though she happily changed her name to “Brisbane” when she married. My mother would tell us how proud she was of her Scottish heritage, even after I looked at the family tree that a relative had done, and pointed out to her that she had more English blood than Scottish.
I guess, I’m really only half a Brisbane. Actually when I think about it, my father was only half a “Brisbane” too, as was his father. By the time we work back to my ancestor, Peter Brisbane, who came out on the “Glenhuntly” in 1840, there’s hardly any “Brisbane” blood in my family tree.
Anyway, the point is that I’m a “Brisbane” because that’s the family that I indentify with, even though if you trace it back far enough, you’ll find that John Shaw changed his name to “Brisbane” when he married Elizabeth Brisbane, in order to inherit the castle.
But hey, nobody can tell me that I’m not a “Brisbane”.
When it comes to the Aboriginal population, however, we have people complaining that some people are indentifying as indigenous when they don’t fit Andrew Bolt’s criteria of what it means to be one of the first Australians. And as for some of “them” wanting to call it “Invasion day”, don’t they realise what Australia Day is all about?
While some people are putting memes on their Facebook page announcing their intention to proudly celebrate Australia Day, I can’t help but wonder what we’re celebrating. If it’s the idea that we’re celebrating what a great, diverse, inclusive place we are, then it seems strange to pick the 26th January for that date.
I mean, you’d understand that the Japenese may be offended if the anniversary of Hiroshima was chosen as the day to celebrate the achievements of Robert Oppenheimer or Christians may be upset if Good Friday was picked as “What the Romans Have Done For Us” day.
I know, I know, 26th January was that really important day in Australia’s history. But if you think about it, what was so important about it? A group of unwanted convicts and their guards arrived to start a penal colony. In the end, we’re celebrating the establishment of our first detention centre.
I’d rather a national holiday to celebrate Eureka or Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generation or the invention of the stump jump plough. Something that’s a bit more inclusive.
Or if we’re going to stick with today’s date, why not change it to “Invasion day”. At least that way, it makes sense that it’s a day of sorrow for some, while others can run around showing respect for the Australian flag by wearing it round their shoulders while drunkenly declaring their love for Australia while hating nearly everybody in it and asserting that they’re not racist, but…
And, in that great Australian tradition, the rest of us can take off whatever day we like and actually celebrate whatever we feel is good about this country.